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[One-Shot] Legends

Discussion in 'Completed Fics' started by Negrek, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Warnings: Violence associated with pokémon battles.

    Author's Notes: A one-shot for January! (Shhh, I know it's February, I took a couple days to make some edits.) I considered entering this into the platonic contest, but then I didn't.

    That's about all there is to say about this one. Enjoy!


    One day a charizard came to the mountain.

    She didn't come in fast or low like she was making an attack but landed some way below the peak. Her long climb up was followed by many curious eyes, watchers peering from scrubby bushes or patches of rock-shade. Some watchers fled, the ones who were only wild, with none to protect them but themselves. But soon all the little streams and rivulets, icy glacier-melt tumbling down from above, were crowded with people jostling for a view of the old dragon.

    And she was old, her huge wings traced with shadowy scars, scales grown thick and tough and teeth grayed by centuries of smoke. She wore a metal band around her neck, set with a glinting stone. A human-made thing, but there was no human with her.

    None tried to stop her as she made her slow, patient way up. They only watched.

    The mountain's peak was glacier-capped, and below it was a pool, perfectly clear down to its bottom, which made it appear much shallower than it was. Meltwater cascaded down from above, and though there were marks of pokémon here, wallows and muddy slides all around the pool's edge, the crashing water was the only sound. Charizard walked straight ahead, rocks clacking and shifting under her claws, until water lapped at her feet. Then she stopped, right at the edge of the pool, and stretched her wings up over her head.

    "So are you going to ignore me, then?" she called across the water. "It's no good trying to hide."

    One of the boulders sat up. It was not a quick or simple process, dirt and stones tumbling from the edges of an immense shell, tree-trunk limbs levering an immense blastoise off the ground. She turned slowly to face Charizard, clicks sounding from deep within her shell as the armor ground back from her cannons, their metal tips gleaming dully in the sun. Blastoise never stopped growing, and while once Charizard had been taller than this one, now it was Blastoise who towered, her hands alone so broad she could probably crush Charizard's skull one-handed. Her shell and hide were crusted with sand, pebbles, twigs, mud from the wallow she'd been lying in.

    "Some nerve to show up after all this time," Blastoise rumbled in a grinding-ice voice.

    Charizard lashed her fiery tail, leaving a faint, sinuous plume of smoke behind. "I've been busy. You know that."

    "Oh, I've heard, I've heard." Blastoise studied Charizard from beneath thick brow-ridges, face stern and hard-edged. "Have you grown tired of your training, then? Or have you simply discarded whatever human was so rash as to think they could tame you?"

    Charizard huffed out a contemptuous burst of flame. "The first. There's nothing more that humans can teach me. Perhaps someday another trainer will prove themselves worthy of my attention. But I doubt it."

    Blastoise rumbled to herself. "I suppose you'll be wanting a battle. I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. It's been centuries since I had time for that nonsense."

    Charizard grinned a toothy, foot-long smile. "Humor an old woman."

    Blastoise grunted, and with a glacial shifting of limbs and shell rose to her hind legs, cannons lurching up to point at the sky. Watchers in the bushes went into a frenzy of whispering, drawing together so tight that shell clacked against shell and wagging tails swatted each other aside. Runners were dispatched to find what few hadn't already come to see the spectacle of the charizard, and the rest shoved and scuffled for the best spots.

    If Blastoise or Charizard noticed the commotion, they gave no sign. "Don't you ever tire of winning?" Blastoise grumbled, and Charizard smiled again and rose into the air.

    They fought the most when they were youngest, nothing like real battles, tumbling over each other, scratching, yelling, biting. No winner or loser, just scuffling until pried apart by some long-suffering aide.

    "I can tell you two are going to make a couple trainers very happy someday," a weary machoke once told them, holding them apart at arm's length. Charmander hissed at Squirtle across the gap. They weren't even thinking of trainers then, fighting for no one but themselves.

    Nothing so crude now, no need for teeth or claws. Blastoise tracked Charizard's movement overhead, then let loose a double cannon-blast with a report so deep it sent cracks spidering up the side of the glacier. Charizard dipped a wing and slid out of the way. She didn't even bother with fire, the air around her humming while she gathered searing yellow light between her claws.

    The watchers shrieked and jumped in terrified delight as the solar beam touched down, digging a deep smoking furrow across the rocks and then up and over Blastoise. The water-type had tucked her limbs in tight, though, and all the attack did was leave a blackened streak across her shell.

    The day had to come eventually, when all the humans were herded into one side of a room and all the pokémon into the other. Charmander and Squirtle stood and growled at each other, a last challenge, before dashing out into the crowd of humans, small feet plapping against the tiles.

    Squirtle made right for the professor's son. It was no secret she was a favorite of his, and almost sure to have his agreement. Charmander growled to herself and tried not to be jealous. There had to be better trainers here anyway. She wove between humans and their new partners, tail scattering embers that made the more timid trainers flinch away. None of them for Charmander, nor the ones making doe-eyes at some bulbasaur or squirtle who would obviously never amount to anything. Charmander shoved through, rejecting one after the other with no more than a brief glance, and tried not to notice how the number of children dwindled around her.

    She almost didn't see him, up against one wall, and what might her life have been like if she hadn't? But there he was, and Charmander recognized him as the boy who tagged around after the professor's son, antagonizing him as much as she antagonized Squirtle. Charmander veered his way, suddenly inspired. Here was a human she knew had guts.

    The boy was kneeling in front of a bulbasaur, stroking his glossy bud, but Charmander stormed over and set the grass-type fleeing, tears in his eyes, with just a single swipe of claws.

    The human watched his potential partner run off, arms draped over his knees. "That was mean," he said, not angry but flat, just an observation. Charmander stood and fumed in front of him, growling, tail blazing.

    "You can't go with any of the other people," the human mused. "You'd eat them alive, wouldn't you?" Charmander hissed, and the boy smiled back. "Want to come with me?"

    That was the first day that she fought, really fought, and so the first day that she won. And she was gratified to find that the boy lived up to all her expectations and more.

    Charizard slipped around to the far side of the glacier, and when Blastoise reemerged from her shell her opponent was nowhere to be seen. She didn't seem bothered, though, simply sat back with eyes half-closed, gathering strength. Charizard built herself up, too, swooping and looping in a chaotic dance, keeping always out of sight.

    She was forced to make the first approach, when it became clear that Blastoise had no intention of doing anything but sitting and waiting for her. Charizard came sweeping back around the peak, preceded by a solar beam, and Blastoise raised a lazy hand. The water in the pool rose with it and lunged at Charizard, clenching like a fist.

    Charizard dodged again, effortlessly, the slightest angling of her wings enough to let her slip past unharmed. The wall of water crashed closed behind her with a roar and a cascade of rainbow-hazed droplets. Charizard prepared another solar beam, and this time when she released it, Blastoise didn't have time to withdraw. Searing energy cut across her hide rather than the armor of her shell.

    They went on separate adventures, then, but no surprise that their paths crossed. They were proud, and their trainers were proud, and after all they pursued the same goal. Charmander and Squirtle, Charmeleon and Wartortle, Charizard and Blastoise--they didn't always fight each other; sometimes their trainers sent them against other, lesser pokémon. But they made no secret of who they really wanted to fight, and their trainers indulged them often enough. They felt it, too: the clash between their oldest companions was somehow different, more true than battling with any others.

    The pokémon grew in strength, and the trainers grew in cunning, and all of them grew--older, wiser, found new equilibrium. They didn't fight every time--they could sit together, and laugh together, and battle, even, side by side. And they did. But they knew it would come to a fight in the end, for the title, for immortality. And so Charizard was not surprised when her trainer came to her with a conspiratorial smile and a proposition, and they began a treasure hunt.

    The thud of Blastoise's cannons reverberated across the water as she blasted volley after volley at Charizard, and the dragon dodged them all. Charizard sent solar beams raking back, and Blastoise deflected most of them, whether from her shell or from a flashing protect attack, but she couldn't block them all. What solar beams hit she bore impassively, ignoring the raised red streaks they scored into her skin. Her audience gasped and tittered and finally broke into cheers when a burst of water hit home, knocking Charizard into a sideways tumble. Blastoise followed immediately with an even more furious round of cannon blasts, but Charizard slipped away as swiftly as though she'd never been hit.

    It had been no surprise to find Blastoise in the champion's chamber, her trainer at her side and grinning ear to ear. They'd been first since the very beginning, always one step ahead. It wasn't that Charizard's trainer was weak, sluggish or stumbling. He just wasn't that concerned with being first. After all, there was no point rushing to claim something you wouldn't be able to hold.

    So it had been no surprise to find that Blastoise's trainer was already champion, just as it had been no surprise that he laughed when they showed him their secret weapon. "Ha!" he'd said once Charizard was finished changing, spreading long, narrow wings and radiating furnace-heat. "Mega evolution. I guess they're giving out key stones to anyone with a pulse nowadays. Doesn't matter. Blastoise! Let's show them our strength!"

    Charizard's heart had raced when Blastoise, too, was wrapped in swirling energy and emerged with an exhilarated roar, the bore of one huge cannon aimed straight at Charizard's chest. Charizard launched herself forward on new wings and the giddy high of energy singing through her veins. What good was victory without challenge? And it would be a victory, one that was being written into his mere moments after it happened. Victory for Charizard and for her trainer, the greatest team to ever be. Legends.

    It was a disappointment, then, this farce of a battle. Blastoise kept Charizard back, plenty of water at her disposal, but seemed unable to press her further. Charizard got an attack in here, another there, and little by little that would do it. Even knowing they couldn't fight at full strength, even though, yes, it had no doubt been ages since Blastoise had battled anything at all, Charizard had been hoping for more. This had been one of the fiercest pokémon in all of Kanto, in all the world, and now... Charizard tried not to dwell on it, jinked past another tree trunk-thick hydro pump, and prepared another counterattack.

    Blastoise shuddered when the solar beam struck, rumbled a rolling growl, and shrouded herself in dense mist.

    The championship had been, perhaps, too great a victory. It was a blow even to Blastoise's trainer's indomitable ego, and he withdrew to the lesser position of Gym Leader, which he'd never sought nor wanted. Blastoise went with him, of course, to share in his mourning. That left Charizard and her trainer alone, with nowhere left to climb, no greater opponent awaiting them. They trained, and trained, with neither goal nor companion in its pursuit, and it was lonely on the mountain of their achievement. Lonely, and cold.

    Charizard snorted, circling just outside the roiling dark haze. What was the point? The mist concealed Blastoise's movements, but she was so huge that even if she moved Charizard was bound to hit her firing blindly into the cloud. Blastoise couldn't see out, so as long as Charizard stayed mobile, there was no danger of her getting hurt.

    No sounds from within the haze. Perhaps Blastoise was simply recovering, hoping Charizard would be confused enough to give her a bit of time. Charizard snorted. Blow the cloud away? Why bother? She threw another solar beam into the haze and was rewarded by a grunt of pain.

    They had spent a long time in lonely training. They'd spent so much time, actually, that Charizard hadn't even realized how long it had been until Blastoise showed up and was, impossibly, not a child anymore.

    She hadn't been training, not the way Charizard had. Her trainer's gym position kept his team in practice, but they'd faced lesser opponents while Charizard strove for perfection atop Johto's most unforgiving mountain.

    Somehow that was the closest battle of them all. Charizard almost lost. Almost. Even now she doesn't know how that was possible, given the difference in their skill. Maybe, for once, proud Charizard and her trainer hadn't truly wanted to win.

    Another solar beam, another hit. The haze thinned, burned off by solar energy, dispersing on mountain breezes. Now and again a snatch of Blastoise became visible: an arm, a cannon, the smooth, broad dome of shell.

    Something was wrong. Blastoise's shell glittered, had none of its usually waxy sheen. Charizard only caught a glimpse, but she nosed a little closer, searching the fading haze while sunlight glowed through her claws.

    Something cracked down below, a sharp report like a boulder snapping. Charizard looked down and saw ice clouding the pool's surface, sublimating in gentle white wisps. She beat her wings once, by instinct flying higher, up and away from unknown danger.

    A powerful cross-breeze caught her and blew her sideways. It came laced with dancing snowflakes, ice crystals abrading her scales and tearing long rents in her wing-membranes. Blizzard winds slammed Charizard against the side of the glacier, freezing ice at her back, freezing air against her stomach, twin walls of ice trying to snuff her flame between them.

    The haze had never been meant to hide where Blastoise was, only what she was doing. With the mist ripped away by the blizzard's gale Charizard could see the icicles growing from the rims of Blastoise's cannons, the frost clouding her scales, the snow drifting across the rocks at her feet. She'd been preparing.

    Charizard snarled and pushed against the side of the glacier, hole-ridden wings straining against the slackening blizzard. But Blastoise clenched her fists, shifted on massive feet, and the glacier creaked, cracked, chunks calving with a horrid, grating rumble. The front of the glacier tore away and toppled down in chunks, Charizard trapped beneath the falling ice.

    The pool's frozen surface broke her fall, but only for a second. Then the main mass of the glacier came roaring down, ice splintering against ice and spraying razor shards in all directions. The ice beneath Charizard gave way, dumping her into freezing water.

    It had almost been like they were journeying again, together, their old rivalry forgotten. Their trainers were legends, and wherever they chose to go, the way would open for them. They left Kanto for somewhere warmer, somewhere far away from the championship and the once-more shuttered gym. The teams trained together instead of clashing, competing. Sometimes, though, they had it out. A proper fight. And Blastoise and Charizard fought each other then; there was no pitting them against anyone but their counterpart.

    But their trainers were legends, and no small island chain could hold them. They weren't ready for retirement, those two, for picking off the odd challenger and enjoying island sunsets. They were legends, and they were called to legendary tasks. And why not? They'd unlocked mega evolution--and they'd done it independently, each managing a task that for any ordinary person would be the achievement of a lifetime. The world held many more legends, even greater deeds. What force could stand against the two of them united?

    Charizard gasped in awful, frigid water and convulsed with panic. Her flame glowed somewhere below, wreathed in frothing bubbles; her wings, soggy and useless underwater, wrapped and tangled her. More ice thundered down from above, forcing her deeper. She forgot Blastoise entirely in her need for air, didn't even notice the surge that buffeted her sideways as something huge entered the water. She didn't think of Blastoise at all until the water came alive around her, strange currents dragging at her tangled wings.

    Charizard pulled away, straining limbs clumsy underwater, but a huge hand reached up from below, seized tight and dragged, thick claws leaving ribbons of blood hanging in the water where they pierced flesh. Blastoise dragged down, and down, until she could wrap her arms around Charizard. The dragon twisted and struggled, a line of whipping, gleaming flame encircled by the dark. Claws and teeth rebounded from Blastoise's armored skin. Charizard's tail-flame flickered, sending lazy bubbles slipping upwards. She thought she felt a spark, a flare of energy at her throat, something woken in the gemstone on her collar.

    It was nothing, of course. Couldn't have been otherwise. But for a moment Charizard's struggles ceased, and she hung limp in Blastoise's arms, drifting.

    The last battle was much like their first, without trainers, with no purpose but to hurt. "Where are you going?" Charizard had asked when Blastoise turned away, taking one ponderous step and then another.

    "Home, I suppose," Blastoise said. "Whatever that turns out to be."

    "Giving up?" Charizard said. "Turning your back on them now? Pathetic."

    "What's pathetic is how you cling to some old story like it means anything," Blastoise said. "I've lost too much to your adventure nonsense. Go, if you want. Fly off and find some other foolish trainer to take with you to their death, I don't care. I'm done with it."

    "You dishonor their memories. They gave their lives to find the answer, and now you're going to walk away like it doesn't matter anymore?"

    Blastoise growled. "It doesn't! It was always you two--always you two pushing, saying we had to do this, saying we needed to try. You think my trainer ever cared? You think we would have chosen to go at all if it was us alone?"

    Charizard huffed smoke, tongues of flame licking between her teeth. "Better if you hadn't come! Then we would have known we were alone, we wouldn't have thought we could rely on you! Then we would have been ready, it wouldn't have mattered that your stupid trainer choked--"

    Blastoise roared and lowered her head to charge, and Charizard roared back, and their final battle was joined.

    Underwater, Charizard tried to think past suffocating dark. It was hard, for more reasons than the strangling feeling of dead air in her chest, her tail-flame's fading glow. You didn't normally think while you were fighting. You simply acted, reacted, let your body carry you from one blow to the next. Your trainer did the thinking, since they weren't busy getting punched in the face. Battles in the wild tended to be brutal, and short.

    But Charizard thought. And in the life-sapping darkness, she saw a way forward.

    Charizard's scales glowed white as her fire lit the deep. The skin on Blastoise's arms rose in blisters, and the water churned, hot, chaotic ripples buffeting Blastoise's head. She turned her face aside, grumbling, and though she didn't let go Charizard only needed her grip to loosen, just a tiny bit. She slipped free, hot water carrying her up like an elevator until her head broke the surface, sweet oxygen all around.

    Their last battle had been explosive, what Charizard can remember through a haze of long-ago bloodlust. Mega stones shone with enough residual energy to make a change, but one only half-right, unstable and lopsided. Blastoise had lurched under a shell grown too heavy for the rest of her body, face lumpy and misshapen. Charizard remembered throwing Blastoise down by her large central cannon, flapping and ungainly, her weight unbalanced and fire burning hot, too hot in her chest. Without a second source to draw from the mega evolution ate her own flesh.

    And it hadn't solved anything, of course. They fought because there was nothing else to do and no one to blame but each other. In the end Charizard had won, proving nothing whatsoever, and Blastoise had left anyway. Then Charizard had left, too, on her own. They turned away from the graves that affronted both of them--Charizard because she knew you should burn the dead, Blastoise because she thought they should be released into the sea. But their trainers had been human and, it seemed, meant to lie silent in the earth.

    Water swirled around Charizard, dragging at her heavy, sodden body. Blastoise would rise again in a second, ready to pull her down again. Charizard struggled to unfold one wing, shaking out wet and twisted membrane. The thick chunks of ice bobbing all around offered no help, slipping and tipping out from under her whenever she tried to climb aboard. Struggling at the surface, Charizard was almost indignant. Hasn't battled in centuries, as if.

    She craned her neck, straining towards the peak overhead, lopsided and jagged now where ice had calved away. Charizard's wings slapped uselessly at the surface of the water, raising white-foam splashes. Blastoise rose behind her, silent as she slid up from below, and announced herself by snorting water from her nostrils. She wanted Charizard to know she was there, was giving her the chance to surrender, maybe.

    As if. Charizard rounded on Blastoise, slow and clumsy in the water. Blastoise wasn't expecting her lunge, the claws scraping for purchase against her plastron, the teeth sunk into the side of her neck.

    Blastoise roared and submerged, dragging Charizard with her. Charizard hung on, teeth sunk deep and claws striking anything they could reach, cracking shell, digging into the tender flesh where arm met armor. Blastoise began pulling her limbs into her shell. Charizard had to let go of Blastoise's neck when a closing trapdoor hatch of shell slammed into the side of her face. She jammed her claws in under it, snarling and digging around at random, but the shell kept closing, snapping down painfully on Charizard's knuckles. Charizard snarled again and dragged them free, lest they get sliced in half. Blastoise's shell slammed shut completely, and Charizard watched it sink away from her, silent, giving no sign it contained a living creature.

    She had no way to get at her opponent now, and all Blastoise had to do was wait in there, perhaps recover her strength, prepare another attack. She'd have to come out and up to breathe eventually, but not nearly as soon as Charizard would. All Charizard had succeeded in doing was pushing her completely out of reach. Pointless.

    Except that as long as Blastoise was in there, she wouldn't be able to see what Charizard was doing.

    Blastoise poked her head out again not long after, perhaps sensing strange currents in the water around her, energy stirring the pool to restless movement. Charizard was struggling to hold the hyper beam contained, just waiting for her moment.

    The deep was bright then, lost in a confusion of whirling bubbles, trapped pockets of steam. There came the roar of moving water, and Blastoise's roar, too, when the hyper beam engulfed her head.

    Charizard let the attack's boiling recoil carry her back to the surface and gulped a long draw of air. It took a while for Blastoise to surface this time, and she did so with eyes shut, the skin of her face scrubbed scale-less and pink by the hyper beam. She growled when Charizard set on her again, claws raking at tender skin. "Enough!" Blastoise said, shoving Charizard aside with one arm. "I yield. You have your victory."

    Charizard floated away, snorting and shaking her head, blowing water out of her nostrils. There was no human medication out here, no healing machines. It wouldn't have made sense to fight until collapse. But somehow she still felt cheated. If nothing else she'd hoped to catch the old thrill of their battles. Maybe she was just too focused on the fact that she'd be feeling the claw-wounds in her sides for days, whenever she took a breath.

    Charizard wriggled off in an awkward stroke and crawled out of the water on all fours, tail held high, hissing and popping as it burnt off the last of its moisture. Across the pool Blastoise was doing much the same, more graceful in the water but still lumbering-huge. While Charizard sat and dried, getting her scattered limbs in order, Blastoise reopened reddened, running eyes, blinking furiously. Nearby bushes murmured.

    "That was some trick," Charizard said. "You came up with that because of me, didn't you? In case we ever fought again."

    "Don't flatter yourself," Blastoise grunted. After a few minutes, "So. You got your battle. Satisfied?"

    Charizard didn't answer, just sat and groomed her scales, plucking out broken ones, grimacing at the ragged edges of the wounds in her sides. She ran her claws up underneath the key stone around her neck, scratching and wiping moisture from the scales below. Blastoise squinted at her through tears. "You ever get that thing working again? Since--?"

    "No." Charizard settled the key stone back into place, adjusted it. The stone in its center gleamed as vibrantly as ever, but it remained dead. "Where's yours?" Charizard asked.

    Blastoise waved a hand. "Gone. Gave it away. No point in me keeping it. I figure it ought to go to someone who might actually be able to use it."

    Charizard's smile bared teeth. "So one of your innumerable offspring has it," she said. "I've fought them, you know. Several. They did well enough, I suppose, but none of them have a patch on you."

    Blastoise chuckled, an immense grinding noise, then again at the affronted whispering coming from the stones around her. "Oh, come on out, you lot. There's no need to skulk around like that."

    One blue face appeared, and then another, squirtle peeking from behind rocks and between tufts of scrub grass. There was the odd wartortle, too, hanging back with the attitude that they'd only been keeping an eye on the young ones, not eavesdropping themselves. Charizard had the suspicion that more than a couple of the boulders dotted around the peak had ears, had enjoyed the spectacle discreetly from the safety of their armored shells.

    "Well, perhaps I'm just the fighter of the family. My kin may not be so bloodthirsty." Blastoise showed yellowed, cracking teeth. "But I think it's less lack of ability than lack of proper instruction."

    Charizard made an expressive growl. "It's true. Trainers today aren't worth much. Too obsessed with their machines, their numbers. They've forgotten how to trust themselves."

    "Even when we were young, there were no others like ours," Blastoise said.

    "True," Charizard said, and in the quiet that followed the squirtle grew bolder, tumbling out from their hiding places, curled tails wagging. They scuffled and tumbled over one another, and some of them looked to be playing Charizard, spreading their arms like wings and jumping on their playmates.

    Charizard watched them for a while, then said, "You remember the stories about Reshiram, don't you?"

    "The dragon of truth?" Blastoise mused. "Yes, of course. The flame who burns away ignorance and lies."

    "They say he can even raise the dead," Charizard said and looked up at the glacier, pretending not to notice Blastoise's glare.

    "You can't be serious," Blastoise said. "You want to start this again? Again? After all it's cost us?" Charizard dug her toe-claws into the pebbly soil, wiggling them. "You think you're going to hare off on another crazy quest, chasing one of your stories. And you want me to go with you, don't you?"

    "We are legends, aren't we? Aren't impossible quests supposed to be our bread and butter?"

    "You're talking about a journey. Now? At our age?" Blastoise was older, though a year or two hardly mattered when laid beside eight hundred others. "A journey after something it would be better not to find."

    "A journey to Unova," Charizard said.

    "Unova's a long, long way from here."

    "It's only half as long if you don't plan on coming back."

    Blastoise studied Charizard, who stared back quietly. She knew how she looked, scales trim and gleaming, flame burning high, blue and white at its center. Charizard didn't decline as they aged. They grew stronger and stronger, the fire inside them burning ever hotter until it overcame them from within, like a dying star.

    Blastoise, on the other hand, grew slower and slower until one day they stopped. And Charizard wondered how long this one had been asleep before her family had woken her, if she even knew what month it was, what season. Blastoise sat back and thought while Charizard honed her claws against the side of a boulder, their faint rasping underscoring the giggles of playing squirtle.

    "I suppose we are legends," Blastoise rumbled at last. "The stupid quests are our job, aren't they? It's not like anyone normal would ever bother."

    Charizard turned towards her, wings lifting slightly in surprise. Blastoise smiled. "I just hope you're prepared to wait around a lot. You might imagine I'm not the fastest walker, these days."

    "There's no hurry. It's not like Reshiram's going anywhere." Charizard rose, shaking her wings out like she meant to fly off right that second.

    "Tomorrow morning," Blastoise said sharply. "I have a few goodbyes to make."

    Charizard looked at the squirtle falling about in play, with no patience for their elders' talk. One climbed up Blastoise's side to hang off a cannon, then slid down the dome of her shell with a shriek of delight, cannoning into the pool. Immediately three more ran over to try it. "More than a few, I'd say," Charizard said. "Been busy, haven't you?"

    Blastoise laughed. "What do you know, you get to be a few hundred years old, and you have children, and your children have children, and their children have children, and all of a sudden have quite a few relatives to account for." She peered at Charizard. "Do you--?"

    "No." But Charizard smiled, stretching out her neck and shaking her wings again, scattering water droplets. "Tomorrow morning, then. I trust you won't keep me waiting."

    "As if! We were always ahead of you two, remember? Don't think you're going to leave me behind so easily."

    "Wouldn't dream of it," Charizard said, and with a hammering of wings she was airborne. "Tomorrow, then." And every tomorrow after, for a good long time yet. They are legends, after all. There can't be one without the other. That's not how stories work.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    Venia Silente likes this.
  2. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Oh maaann, this is cool.

    Ever since that one ancient Blastoise character showed up in Salvage, I've loved the idea of just... downright ancient Pokemon. But not even legendaries, just regular Pokemon living to be extremely frickin' old, and I love just how tangible the description of time on these things is.

    I was a bit confused about their trainers, because the choosing scene seems to imply that they're not Red and Blue, but then the rest of their journey pretty much perfectly matched Red and Blue's journeys. I suppose this could be an alternate universe considering the existence of Mega Evolution (what with RS and ORAS canonically being separate universes with the latter being characterized by having Mega Evolution, this story could be a similar thing in relation to RB.) Speaking of Mega Evolution, I love the idea that Mega Evolution is technically possible without a trainer, but having the trainer there stabilizes the transformation with a second life force (actually, I don't know if that's straight out of canon, but it certainly fits, in any case.)

    Oh, and the battle was insanely cool. Each blow felt heavy, from the searing Solarbeams to the glacier crashing down, and don't get me started on the bit where Charizard's stuck underwater! I actually wasn't expecting it to end with them heading off on another adventure together, but it was a sweet way to end it.

  3. I really liked this, and a lot of it I think comes from the spectacle of it all. Yes, there’s the intense and well-described battle, but also there’s the spectacle of just who these Pokemon are and what they’ve been through. Seeing their “legend” status unfold as the story went on was a treat, and how you incorporated quite a lot of elements beyond the typical Red-Blue plot made for a more refreshing story overall.

    I particularly like how you presented their dynamic, both the conflicting ones in the flashbacks and their mutual respect for each other in the final scenes. While I would’ve liked some blanks filled with regards to the last flashback, I think keeping it a bit more open was also a good decision since it added to the mythical quality of it all.

    Their playful nudging at each other in the end was easily my favorite part of the story, as like I said it’s a great way to convey just how highly they see each other (and themselves). That part where they grow silent at the memories of their trainers was also a neat way of going into the ending with Reshiram - I had originally thought the ending was a bit abrupt, but re-reading the last scene it actually flowed pretty naturally.

    So yeah, really nice job with this story. Seeing that it was written for the Platonic contest I thought you did a great job capturing that dynamic between the two characters. :)
  4. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    This was great! I loved the description for the battle. It was definitely intense! I thought Blastoise was rescuing Charizard when she fell in the water, not trying to pull her down D= I'm also surprised the water didn't brutally hurt Charizard, too, given her flame was submerged! She must be one powerful pokemon!

    A big surprise was that they were both female. I quite liked that.

    I was confused as to what happened to their trainers at first, but given the ages of the pokemon themselves by the end, I'm going to guess it was down to old age? It would be interesting to see their adventure after this. I never considered Reshiram to be a pokemon that could revive the dead. I thought that was just Ho-Oh and Xerneas (although the latter is probably my own head cannon). But there's probably more to each Legends' lore than we know!

    There were a lot of interesting things in this story. Particularly the issue with the mega stones. I'd never thought of them working like that, being unstable and distorting the pokemon if there wasn't a human with a key stone.

    It was nice that it had a happy ending. You see that they actually are friends and not just beating on each other, despite how brutal the battle sounded. That ending was really sweet =)
  5. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Wowwww, I definitely thought I'd responded to reviews on this earlier. Sorry it too so long for me to get back to you; I did read all of your comments, and I really appreciate you taking the time to leave them. And now, finally:

    @Chibi Pika

    Thanks! I definitely have a fondness for super old, kind of elemental pokémon (and, little plug, anyone else who does should definitely check out Gods and Demons). Dragon- and turtle-based pokémon in particular seem like pokémon that should live a long time and get really freaking huge in the process.

    While writing this I realized that I need to never write about blastoise again, seeing as I already managed to accidentally put two of them in the tourney arc in Salvage. Seriously running out of ways to make fights with them interesting.

    Haha, at first I was confused about you saying the choosing scene made it seem like they weren't Red/Blue, but you're right, it's really not at all like the games? I guess I'm used to all kinds of different interpretations of those opening scenes, so I didn't even think of myself as writing an AU. (They are in fact supposed to be Red and Blue.)

    I guess it's more or less canon now, although it hasn't really been specifically spelled out anywhere. You have things like pokémon being able to mega evolve without humans in PMD, but they go bonkers after a while, or Korinna's lucario going nuts after mega evolving in the pokémon anime because their bond isn't strong enough, and then all the horrifying SuMo mega evo entries (like mega scizor apparently just ****in MELTS if the evolution isn't regulated)... Apparently there's some risk associated with mega evolving that perhaps having a (good) human partner helps mitigate, and I wanted to play with it a little here.

    Thanks! I enjoyed writing the battle quite a bit. It probably was a bit heavy for a battle between friends, but these two were a bit mad at each other, and I figured they wouldn't be inclined to hold back even if they weren't.

    Thanks for reviewing! This was a fun one-shot for me, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    @Dramatic Melody

    Thanks! I did go a little hard on the spectacle in this one, heh. It was fun! Glad it worked for you.

    Yeah, I definitely wanted to leave their past a bit open, to give it kind of a more mythical quality, but based on comments I probably went a bit too vague. I'm glad the character dynamic worked for you overall, though.

    I had a lot of fun with the ending! I was definitely expecting it to be quite a bit longer than it was, but in the end it seemed like there really wasn't much else to say. I can see how it could feel a bit abrupt, though.

    Thank you! And thank you especially for your comments on the character dynamic. Definitely something I was wondering about!


    Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the battle! There's pretty much always at least one battle even in my one-shots, it's like a law. :p As far as the water not hurting Charizard goes, I was thinking of something like the Mewtwo/Charizard battle in Pokémon Origins. Staying submerged for too long is definitely a bad idea, but the flame won't go out immediately.

    Unfortunately not old age; Red and Blue went off hunting Something quite dangerous, and something went wrong, and neither of them made it out alive. :( Maybe I'll write more about their misadventure someday, who knows.

    Reshiram was honestly just a brain fart on my part. I didn't want to use Ho-Oh, because I wanted Charizard and Blastoise headed somewhere far away, and Blastoise's home would probably be somewhere in Kanto or Johto. Xerneas would have been perfect! I just totally forgot about it while considering my options.

    Partially inspired by some of the more horrifying Sun/Moon pokédex entries! Apparently mega evolution can be seriously awful if not controlled properly.

    Yeah, I wanted this to be more like them working out their issues by fighting, rather than them actually wanting to really hurt each other. I usually go with the interpretation that pokémon are a bit more warlike than humans and solve pretty much all their problems through battle, and it isn't necessarily a rancorous thing.

    Thanks so much for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
  6. AmericanPi

    AmericanPi Write on

    Hi! I'm here for the Missing Mod Madness event, Week One challenge. I've been both busy and ill these few days, which isn't a good combination for participating in a fanfiction reviewing game, but I had to post at least one review to #GiveTchaikovskyACannon. Since I'm far more into one-shots than chaptered fics these days (at least in the Pokémon fandom), I thought I'd mostly review one-shots for Missing Mod Madness. I've been meaning to check out this one-shot for a while now because I've never actually read any of your stories despite you reviewing plenty of mine (sorry about that). And since the Week One challenge is to review a fic by an author you've never reviewed before, I thought I'd review this one-shot! I know it's a bit old, but I've been interested in this story for a while, and why not review a Kanto-inspired one-shot while Let's Go and the Origins contest are happening? So here we go.

    The first thing I gotta say is that I enjoyed this one-shot immensely. It was on the long side, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment at all. In fact, I was glued to my seat as I read, fascinated by the battle and the past of these two ancient Pokémon. I absolutely adore how you weave together the present (the battle) and the past (the backstory). It's very heartwarming how Charizard and Blastoise have shared such a long past together, and even though they fight a lot for various reasons they have this mutual respect about them. Props to you for weaving the present and the past together so seamlessly - I felt that the flashbacks enhanced the battle, and vice versa. In fact, I kept reading mostly because I wanted to see how both the battle and the flashbacks ended. So great job on that.

    Speaking of the battle, it was amazing. Your prose is very fun to read - flowery, vivid, and descriptive without being boring. I love how action-packed and realistic the battle was, and it just felt natural. I think it was very clever of Blastoise to bide her time, and then use Blizzard and the glacial surroundings to trap Charizard in the pool.

    The biggest criticism I have of this one-shot is how quickly the tone shifted from animosity to friendship, which is mostly due to the lack of clarity on Charizard and Blastoise's relationship at the start. As I was reading I wasn't completely sure what the status of Charizard and Blastoise's relationship was exactly at the beginning of the one-shot, and that's okay because sometimes relationships can get complicated. However, I think this one-shot would've benefited from a clearer stance on the state of Charizard and Blastoise's relationship at the beginning. I know that Charizard and Blastoise are powerful Pokémon and rivals with a strong mutual respect, and it has been this way for a long time. However, it was unclear whether Charizard and Blastoise met after that confrontation at Red and Blue's graves, and if they haven't met since then I would've expected far more resistance from Blastoise in terms of going along with Charizard's journey. I think it was cute that Charizard and Blastoise decided to go on one last journey together, but I was honestly expecting something different, like Blastoise being more stubborn and Charizard maybe realizing that there's far more to life than just adventure and getting stronger.

    (Side note, as I was reading I was hoping for an examination on Charizard's part on how hollow it can be to have your life goal as "just get stronger". I adored Cheren's character arc from B/W - his realization that it's worth it to just settle down and be content with the little things - because it was surprisingly deep. So having Charizard's view of just continuing adventures win out in the end felt a little... jarring, to be honest. Not like it's a bad thing - there can definitely be an argument in favor of continuing to get stronger - but I was honestly expecting Blastoise to put up a stronger philosophical fight.)

    Overall, though, this was a very fun read. The big picture was great, and there were really cool little details as well, like the ancient-ness of Charizard and Blastoise, the tragedy of Red and Blue dying as a result of their quests for strength, and the lack of control Pokémon have over Mega Evolution if their Trainers aren't present. Great job!
  7. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    I like this little flashback. It took me a sentence or two to figure out what was going on, but the italics tipped me off. Very clever use of it, just going all the way back to the beginning, and now them meeting up such a long time later.

    For a one shot, this is an incredible way to tell a story without really telling it at all, you know? It feels like I’m reading an epilogue to a grand story without having ever experienced it. I knew right off the bat that this was probably good ol’ Red and Blue, but we’re looking at it from their starters’ perspectives after a long time gone by.


    I... don’t really have any more quotes after that one, because I was busy just reading through it all and not really thinking about the analysis portion. I was definitely more enraptured with the flashbacks than the present battle, not necessarily because one was written better than the other, but because that’s generally where my focus tends to go. Action is action, but I have a heavy preference for pasts and presents and the characters that reside there.

    And now that I’m finished reading it, this is probably the first one-shot or short story that I’ve ever read that is simultaneously something that reads like an epilogue and a prologue—after the end of one story, and yet the beginning of another. I dunno, it seemed like an interesting way to frame things. The in-between of two Pokémon and their long lives. There's an odd mixture of emotions going on at the end of the story that in some way leaves me unsatisfied, but in others, that's because it reads like a prologue. It's hints of bittersweet at coming to terms, yet defiantly going against the terms, that their trainers are dead -- after all, it had been literal lifetimes since they were gone, but based on Charizard's hints, she never got over it completely -- they still have that hope to see them again (one way or the other, as they age and fade or burn.) It's open-ended, even if the original plot of fighting and recollecting wrapped itself up. I've got mixed feelings about ending that way, but for a story like this, as a one-shot, there's not really any other way to do it.

    Thanks for the read.
  8. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    This was a pretty great story for me to go through. So we have the starters of who I presume to be Red and Blue, and they're some hundred or more years old. I'm not used to thinking of Pokémon that old, but it's honestly pretty interesting.

    The flashbacks were just very good, they definitely made me feel a lot of emotions. It was definitely sad to learn that their trainers had long since passed, and it was kind of surreal to think of that as I went through.

    The fight was great, it was exciting and there were some parts that I seriously didn't see coming, mainly when Blastoise tried to drag Charizard down into the lake. I was definitely surprised at the time that Charizard was able to hold on underwater like she did, but it makes more sense to me now knowing the way her body changed over time.

    Charizard and Blastoise themselves are polar opposites, right down to they way their bodies age. They're simply the perfect rivals to each other. I loved that through it all though, they settle their differences and seemingly head out for one more adventure. I did kinda feel that there should've been something more about Charizard and the thing about the whole idea of trying to be the strongest, but as it stands it didn't bother me much.

    Also, Reshiram being able to revive people? Can't say I've heard of that one, but it's interesting.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this and it hit me in the feels a little bit.
  9. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    Hey! I read this way back when you first posted it, but never got around to reviewing, largely because I'd also not gotten around to reviewing Fourfold, which I'd really wanted to review. I meant to do that for this challenge, buuuut seems that never got moved to Completed Fics, so this one it is!

    As always, this is beautifully written, and your descriptions of the battle are vivid and intense. I loved the sense of their age and the sheer power behind their attacks, plus seeing a Charizard fight underwater was fun and unusual. Blastoise using the Mist to hide what she's doing and Charizard then pulling essentially the same trick by charging a Hyper Beam while Blastoise can't see was a fun touch that made it feel more dynamic, like she's genuinely there thinking on the fly, impressed by what Blastoise is doing and that puts something in her mind that she makes use of later.

    That being said, I feel like the format here kind of detracted from the battle. I like the interspersed flashbacks, in themselves, and the idea of alternating them with the fight - but in practice, since you keep interrupting the fight for the flashbacks, the battle gets chopped up into these little bits, and I feel like it makes it harder to get fully absorbed in the fight. Each bit of battle is disconnected from the next, and though each bit is good, the greater context and flow are lost to some extent. This isn't exactly a huge deal - exactly how the battle plays out isn't that important. But perhaps precisely because it isn't that important, and it gets chopped up into these little bits, a lot of the battle bits sort of feel like just the background noise to the flashbacks for a while there (at least until Blastoise uses the Blizzard), and I start getting the urge to just skim or skip them to get to the next flashback bit where there's a more tangible sense of a progression of things happening.

    I also felt that for a one-shot that could have been an entry to the Platonic contest, you really didn't develop their actual friendship very much. Their intense rivalry, absolutely - but you kind of skip and brush over where the affection in their relationship comes from. I can buy that over the course of Red and Blue's rivalry and as they matured, they and their Pokémon grew to be friends, but you just sort of say it in a paragraph and then move on to more fights between them. All in all it doesn't actually come across like the two of them like or care about each other all that much, until the very end where Charizard wants to go on a journey with Blastoise and Blastoise agrees despite her initial rebuke. From this I can gather that they really do care, and I'm not exactly surprised, but it still really feels like something is missing.

    Speaking of, I also feel kind of dissatisfied with how vague you end up being about Red and Blue's demise. I don't have a problem with leaving it up to the imagination exactly what they were doing - it's probably better that way - but the way you just kind of go "cut to: welp, they're both dead" kind of undermines this part of the story to me. After all the buildup about how they're the strongest in the world, something about just cutting away and then learning they're dead, without any hint of just what they were up against and why Charizard and Blastoise apparently couldn't protect them despite that they seem to have gotten away unscathed, just makes them sound suddenly incompetent; when I first read this I found it grotesquely comical. Charizard sort of begins to get at what happened, but she's cut off before it gives any kind of coherent picture of it.

    That probably gets to me mostly because otherwise I think this is easily the most powerful part of the story; Blastoise just wanting to get away from it all, Charizard lashing out about her dishonoring their memories, Blastoise firing back about how they never wanted any of this and it was always Red roping them into it, both of them just blaming and taking it out on each other in yet another vicious fight that's not only emotionally but also physically grotesque. The hurt and toxic defense mechanisms in action are tangible and heartbreaking, and the bit about them both in their own ways hating to see their trainers buried in the ground especially aches. All in all this is definitely my favorite chunk of this story, apart from where I'm picturing Red and Blue just both tripping and falling into a well or something. I'm sure you could easily make it feel completely plausible that they both died on this epic quest they were on! But I don't think you provide quite enough to work with for my brain to fill in the blanks in a way that's at all satisfying.

    Some quotes:

    Shouldn't that be "close"?

    Huh? The shell closes? I would've thought, like real-life tortoises, Blastoise'd just withdraw her limbs and head into the shell but the shell itself would stay static (and have holes in it where the limbs/head went through). I have a really hard time picturing the shell somehow snapping shut - like, is there something like an eyelid on the inside? Is the shell itself flexible somehow? This whole bit sounds like Blastoise is a clam or something.

    Interesting. I guess what you're suggesting here is it's her bond with Blastoise that's activating it instead of her bond with Red? But if that's it, I'm not sure I quite buy it on an emotional level, thanks to the aforementioned lack of really showing the affection they have for one another until the very end.

    Reshiram feels like... a very strange choice of legendary to give resurrection powers. Surely the dragon of truth would be more about, like, the reality is that they're dead and you need to accept that reality. Even Zekrom would kind of work at a stretch - hoping to be able to bring the dead back is idealistic, surely? - but Reshiram may actually be the least resurrect-y legendary I can think of.

    This is a really strong, poignant image.

    Overall, I enjoyed this one-shot quite a bit, but maybe not as much as I hoped when I heard you were writing an entry for this contest. Ultimately there's not really that much friendship in here! I would've loved to see that aspect of their relationship developed more clearly throughout the story instead of just the rivalry part. The story is framed around their previous fights, and I can appreciate that, but maybe it'd be stronger with a bit more of a sense that their battles grew to be joyous. You talk about how lonely it was for Red and Charizard on Mt. Silver, but there's still no actual sense that when Blue did appear Charizard was happy to see Blastoise again - just the impassive observation that she was no longer a child, and that they didn't really want to win, in a context that makes it seem like a bad thing. I can imagine after the fact that Charizard was probably enjoying it, but I think the story could do a lot more to actually suggest it and make us feel it, even without undermining their characterization as ever-competitive rivals. I also had a couple of other issues with the presentation choices you made. But it's a solid story with some really potent bits, and if you ever do write about what exactly happened with Red and Blue, sign me up.

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